We’ve probably all had someone say, “Wow - your camera takes great pictures!” And I’m sure most of us would agree that the comment, while likely intended as a compliment, is something akin to telling a baker that his oven makes great bread, or telling a musician that their instrument makes great music. The oven, the instrument, and the camera are necessary tools of the craft but the success of the equipment is determined by the hands that use it.
A few years ago I came across a You Tube series by DigitalRev called, “Cheap Camera Challenge” which aims to illustrate the point that it’s not the camera that makes the photograph but the photographer. In each episode they challenge a professional photographer to create a series of images with the cheapest camera they can get their hands on. The photographers have a time limit and generally don’t know what they will be shooting with until minutes before the time begins. The cameras range from toys, such as the Lego Camera, assigned to Chase Jarvis and a Fisher-Price looking toddler camera, assigned to Lara Jade, to more sophisticated equipment that is long out of date or even broken.
Above images by Lara Jade.
While each photographer’s experience is entertaining, if not a little stressful to watch, the work always comes out inspiring, and there are many take aways; food for thought and inspiration, and we see how integral process is to product.
In a more formal sense we might call this “using an alternative capture method” and there is great value in that in terms of creative challenges, stepping outside our comfort zones, and even breaking through the occasional waves of rut that are sure to sweep over us all from time to time. What camera might you choose in a personal cheap camera challenge? Or rather, what camera might you be just a little afraid of?
You can see more from “Cheap Camera Challenge” on You Tube at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7ECB90D96DF59DE5
Warning though - these episodes are slightly addictive!